Songs on Screen: The 70’s Perfection of ‘Everything Old is New Again’ from ‘All That Jazz’

It”s a scenario familiar to most people: you”ve just come from the premiere of your latest film, a black and white biopic of Lenny Bruce that promises to be a major flop, the doctors are telling you to lay off the booze, cigarettes, pills, (and women, which is technically not their concern), and your Broadway show is about to go tits up.

Though the mood is laid back at your loft, (black, white, neon, ferns), your star dancer and girlfriend, and your teenage daughter, who get along in a progressive way, want to perform their hastily-choreographed song and dance number to cheer you up. You obligingly throw on a nearby Peter Allen record, because there is one, and sit back to watch this newly-christened dance duo perform a-perfect-as-to-appear-imperfect routine to “Everything Old is New Again” among the light Broadway clutter.

They hop down the stairs, swoop through the living room; at times rushing to get to their marks, at times pantomiming saxophones on each other. The teen, in her ballet pinks, provides the perfect counterpoint to Anne Reinking”s tower of jazz precision. At one point, she bends herself backward into a tiny piano on which Anne plays one note. It”s enough to make even the toughest, black-clad director/choreographer melt with joy. By the end, you too are feeling like everything old really can be new again: you really can wake up tomorrow, pop on some Vivaldi, pop some pills, and give it another go. It”s show time!

Stacey Woods writes a monthly column for Esquire, appears on TV sometimes, wrote a book that is available here and tweets here.